Brittany Maynard’s story continues to reverberate in California’s debate about assisted suicide. However, opponents of bill SB-128 also have stories. Stephanie Packer, another California resident, was also 29 when doctors told her that her illness was terminal. They gave her three years, three years ago, so she feels that she is doing well.
Her disease is scleroderma, a hardening of tissue. In her case it has settled in her lungs. According to NPR, “Packer’s various maladies have her in constant, sometimes excruciating pain, she says. She also can’t digest food properly and feels extremely fatigued almost all the time.” However, she is buoyed up by the love and support of her four rambunctious children and her husband.
“Wanting the pain to stop, wanting the humiliating side effects to go away — that’s absolutely natural,” Packer says. “I absolutely have been there and I still get there some days. But I don’t get to that point of wanting to end it all, because I have been given the tools to understand that today is a horrible day, but tomorrow doesn’t have to be.”
The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.